Since my B.A. from Cornell College (1983), and then my graduate studies at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Ph.D. in 1990), almost all of my research has been on the life and thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval Italian theologian, and member of the Dominican Order. My multidisciplinary background makes me hard to categorize; when pressed, I call myself a “medievalist theologian.” That is, my academic effort is to use the tools of medieval studies so as to get inside Thomas’s head, so as to see things as he saw them, so as to learn from him. My beloved mentor, the late Lawrence Dewan, OP, never apologized for having submitted his entire academic life to Thomas’s tutelage. Why should I?
While I am interested in every aspect of Thomas, I especially target his moral teaching (most often read in the Secunda pars of his Summa theologiae). His moral teaching needs to be read in a spacious way, however, also taking into account his pastoralia, that is, his work that pertains to the ‘care of souls’ (cura animarum), as well as his sermons and biblical scripta, for all of these spring from the same well: the world that Christ sanctified through his instruction, life, death, and resurrection. At every moment Thomas was a faithful son of the Church through which—through whom—he gained access to Christ’s promises. His teaching makes no sense if we fail to keep that in mind.